UK Parliament State Opening in 9 traditions

Alastair Grant

Yes, the crown is involved.

By Justyna Zarnowska

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It starts with the Yeomen of the Guard searching the cellars of the Palace of Westminster in order to prevent a modern-day Gunpowder Plot.

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The peers gather together in the House of Lords wearing their robes. They are joined by senior representatives of the judiciary and members of the diplomatic corps.

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One MP, known as the hostage MP, travels to Buckingham Palace just before the Queen leaves for Parliament. This tradition began when the monarch and Parliament were on less friendly terms. The hostage is released upon safe return of the Queen.

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Before the Queen, the Imperial State Crown arrives to the Palace of Westminster in its own State Coach.

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The Queen arrives in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. She puts on the Parliament Robe of State and Imperial State Crown and walks through the Royal Gallery to the House of Lords, usually accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod summons the House of Commons, striking the door three times to be admitted. The Queen herself is not allowed inside; since Charles I stormed the Commons in 1642, no British monarch has entered the House of Commons when it is sitting.

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Both the Speaker and Black Rod lead the Members of the House of Commons as they stroll, in pairs, joking and chatting, towards the House of Lords.

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The Queen reads a prepared speech, known as the "Queen's Speech." Written by the Prime Minister and their cabinet members, it outlines the Government's agenda for the coming year.

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After the speech, the Queen and Duke bow to both sides of the House of Peers. The Queen then leaves the chamber and the Commons bow again and return to their Chamber.

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